Thursday, December 30, 2010

Adventure in Accupuncture - Appointment 2

Second accupuncture appoint today, I really think I am going to enjoy these. The thing is, I am not very good at doing "nothing", at just relaxing and being bored. Even while watching movies at home, I am generally always doing something else. So part of the reason I am enjoying the appointments so much is because I am hoping to learn how to relax. 15 minutes a week that I am forced to relax and clear my mind. Ommmmmmm ...

So, I am going to be doing weekly appointment for about the next ten weeks, working with Jennifer to balance my body be releasing heat through accupuncture, staying away from hot foods, and taking herbs. I cannot say that I have seen results yet, but it has been an odd week with Christmas, traveling, lots of food, and down-time at work. Hopefully will start seeing results starting Monday when diet, excercise and schedule are all back on track.

In the meantime, yesterday's appointment was very good. Had about 25 needles in various points on my body and I once again felt waves of coldness rushing over my body and setting off little "zaps" in a few of the needle spots. Felt very cool after the appointment. Additionally - since I have a sinus infection - she was even able to "customize" the appointment to include some points to release pressure on my sinsus - and they felt so much more OPEN afterwards, it was great!

When I was done with my 12 minutes on my back, she removed all the needles and I turned over on my stomach and she did one final needle prick (enough to draw blood) at top of my spine near the neck. She then lit a flame in a round glass suction cup and applied it to the spot, therefore drawing the skin and blood out and reliving pressure in the space. It felt very odd, but there was also a sensation of release from that area. We'll see what the results are!

Thinking I should take photos to see week to week what the results are.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie: King's Speech and Easy A

Tis the season ... the holiday movie season that is. Every year as Christmas rolls around the various studios release a plethora of light and easy movies for the whole family as well as those in the race for Oscar nominations. Yet another reason (as if I needed one) for me to love this time of year. Black Swan, True Grit, The Fighter, The King's Speech, etc, etc, etc (reference: The King and I).

Over the Christmas weekend I indulged in two great movies, The King's Speech in theater, and Easy A on a flight back from Seattle (I had already seen it in theaters, but it was just a pleasurable the second time).

The Kings Speech:
Oscar. Oscar Oscar Oscar. That about sums it up. One for Colin Firth, one for Helena Bonham Carter, and another for Geoffrey Rush. Not to mention others like movie, director, cinematography, costume, and many others. I still have to see two movies from the best picture list, so I am not going to pass final judgment (yet) on winners, but this movie was just crawling with them.

The story centers on the unexpected ascension to the thrown of King George VI of Great Britain and his work with an unorthodox speech therapist to overcome his stutter. After his father's death and his brother's abdication, Bertie takes the thrown and must prepare and lead his people for the coming war. The relationship between Firth and Rush is incredible! They have more spark and chemistry than most romantic comedy couples!

Overall, the movie was incredible. Well done from every respect. Funny at parts, somber at others. Well acted by all. And simply beautiful shot and edited. A tour de force.

Easy A:
Switching gears just a bit, we go from trouble with pubic speaking to the problem with speaking in public about things you don't always want the world to know: Easy A.

Emma Stone as Olive is hilarious and definitely deserves her Golden Globe nod for comedy actress. The movie centers on the rumors and gossip that spread about her supposed sex life - all started by one little white lie that snowballs into a whole lot of lies (and Target gift cards) and leads to a certain reputation. The film is one of the best chick-flick/teen comedies/lite-hearted movies I have seen in a long time. Probably since about Ten Things I Hate About You.

What I really enjoyed about Easy A - besides Stone's acting, the great story, and fab direction - was the hints and references to the great movies of the 80's, particularly those of John Hughes. Particularly love the montage of movie clips from Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Can't Buy Me Love and Ferris Bueller. That is classic - and every girls dream. "But no, John Hughes did not direct my life." So true. So very true.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Adventure in Accupuncture - Appointment 1

I suffer from acne. Bad bad acne. Have for awhile. Thankfully I happen to be a veritable Picasso with a Clinique make-up brush and my Clinique sheer foundation #3 and pressed powder. I have tried prescription creams and washes, antibiotics herbal supplements, diet, etc. Nothing has really worked so far unfortunatly, and I actually think it has gotten worse over the past few months. I did try the "cure" that is Accutane once but suffered horrible back pain (can't stand, need muscle relaxants bad pain) after two weeks of treatment. So that put a halt to that.

So, after recently hearing someone rave about acupuncture and the great results they saw, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. What have I got to lose? Besides $130 I mean ...

Today was appointment #1. Started out in the typical fashion of all such appointments - a general consultation with lots of questions about diet, symptoms, sleep and a whole lot of other things. I hate that part of any diagnoses - awkward. Soon though she had figured out that I was a bit jaded about all things acne-cure related and she started talking to me a bit more straight-forward and we were able to have a nice open discussion. After the consultation came the first of ten or so weekly appointments to get my acne under control. Based on her diagnosis, my body has too much heat and not enough water. The heat combined with the function/location of my lungs, liver and spleen all act to give me acne. My treatment includes about 20 needles inserted into important points in my lower legs and feet, arms and hands and forehead that are supposed to help release the heat from the body. She mentioned that when the needles are inserted you can get a rush of emotion ... and I DID! I could not decide if I should cry or laugh, so I actually did both! It was a very odd sensation. Over the next 12 minutes I tried to relax my body (somewhat successfully). At one point I felt a chill run through my body and then started to notice that I was really cooling off, soon my hands and feet were even tingly with cold!

So that was appointment number one. All in all ... a good experience. Will see where I am in 3 or 4 appointments before passing judgment on this approach's effectiveness.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Minnesota sports - outdoor football and indoor hockey

Those who know me know that I am not a huge sporting event patron. I am more likely to be found at a movie or theater production before I will be warming Vikings game seat. With that in mind, I do enjoy the occasional game ... especially when I get tickets for free! It's nice to see a Spring baseball game at the new Twins stadium, a fall Gopher game at the Bank, and a snowy Wild game in St. Paul. Cards on the table though ... all of my tickets have been won in drawings and such at work.

Today was one of those rare days where I partook in MN sports. With a slight weather delay we finally made it to St. Paul. Game itself was good - we won 4-1, but the real fun was the people watching and excitement. Oh ... and the food! Hot dogs, nachos, and beer! Yum ... bring on the junk food!

Then we waited 30 minutes to get out of the parking ramp, came home and watched a recap of the Vikings game. I really have no interest, but even I think that is pretty cool to see them play outdoors on a snowy night.

(photo of the day)

Yesterday I went shopping at the Mall of America. As a local, I really do not go here all that often - it is just too much. Spend more time at other Malls for my shopping needs. However, at least once before Christmas I like to go and see the decorations and people watch. Yesterday was that day, and the mall lived up to the hype: parking was impossible, crowds were bad, lines were long, and sales were good.

While there, I snapped this photo of a family out enjoying a day at the Mall. Not to offend any Midwesterners, but do you really need to do this? Why are you wearing your (ridiculously overpriced) jerseys out to the mall. Really? Really? I particularly liked the women in the family with their jerseys and mismatched handbags slung elegantly in the crook of their arms. How perfectly tasteful. And the sweatpants just totally MAKE the outfit.

That's my rant for the day ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, ballet, and theater ettiquette

It was a Saturday filled with ballet yesterday. I braved the holiday crowds at the mall to go to a matinee screening of Black Swan followed by evening performance at the State Theater of Nutcracker Fantasy. All in all - an excellent day.

If you live in Minneapolis - or Minnesota for that matter - you know that we have had A LOT of snow recently. It is not even winter officially and we have at least three big snow storms with large amounts of accumulating snow. Four lane streets are down to two, street parking is a nightmare, side view mirrors litter the roads, and snow is piled up along the roads as tall as my car! One of these big storms was actually last weekend and most places closed and everyone was snowed in, cutting out a very important Christmas shopping opportunity. So, it seemed like everyone doubled their efforts this weekend and hit the roads and the malls. And really, people just start acting stupid on the road. Come on ... drive!

First stop was Target to pickup milk. That only took 20 minutes. Grrrr. Stores like Target should really have a special lane for express non-Christmas related purchases like milk. And it cannot be the current express lanes, because that is just crowded with Christmas shopping. Well, finally made it out and to the movie theater for Black Swan.

Black Swan
Let me start by saying that this movie is incredible and deserves all the hype that it is getting. With that being said, let me also say that this movie is not for everyone. It is slow going, with lots of ballet sequences, a bit of a Mommy Dearest feeling, and unique cinematography. This all makes for an excellent movie, but not a movie that all can enjoy. Especially NOT a movie for the group of four guys who sat in the row in front of me who spent the movie text messaging and did not really take any interest until the make-out scene between Nina and Lily. Then they paid attention. I would bet that was why they came to see the movie to begin with.

The movie focuses on the life of Nina (Natalie Portman) and her ballet career in a NYC ballet company. She lives with her mother - a once upon a time ballerina - who now lives vicariously through her daughter and treats her like a child. When Swan Lake gets cast, Nina gets the part of of the Swan Queen. She is a perfect fit as the pure White Swan but lacks the darkness and sensuality of the Black Swan. A new company member - Lily - is the embodiment of the Black Swan. A twisted friendship develops between the two as Nina struggles with her real self - the White Swan - and the hidden Black Swan within. The psychological thriller climaxes with the anticipated production where all comes to a head.

Two thumbs up, but not for everyone.

The Nutcracker Fantasy
After watching a movie on the world of ballet, I went home and changed for the actual ballet at the State Theater. The Nutcracker Fantasy. Excellent performance by all. The children did extremely well too, which is not always the case. But I do not really come to watch them, I come to be mesmerized by the ballerinas in the second and third act. By the snow flakes and the compliment of dancers from around the world who come to honor the little the girl. I love watching their feet as they come up on pointe, watching their arms rise and fall gracefully, watching their tutus flutter. They are just so graceful and beautiful.

However, it was rather difficult to focus at the beginning when the people in front of me were being so distracting. Three women on the end plus about 10 kids sitting on their right. The three women were on their phones for the first 20 minutes. Not just sending a quick emergency text, no, they were looking through their Facebook wall, just scrolling through there. At one point, one of the women actually put her phone to her email as though she was going to make a call or listen to VM. That was the end of the line for me, I actually leaned over and told them to please turn off their phones as it was distracting. Not to mention that talking kids who felt the need to stand up. Thank goodness there were some empty seats a few rows forward so I moved at intermission.

So, to summarize a few notes on proper theater etiquette, whether movie, theater, ballet ... whatever.
  • Cellphones should be off. Not just volume, but no texting or checking VM or scrolling through FB wall updates. The glow is very annoying, distracting and disrespectful.
  • Kids should be told what is and is not appropriate behavior. Be respectful of your fellow patrons.
  • There exists a coat check ... use it. Do not take up half my seat with your giant puffy coat.
  • Do not leave before the curtain call, that is very disrespectful to the performers.

Movie: Charade

I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan ... and an equally enthusiastic Cary Grant fan. Old movies have such a different cadence to them, transporting us and making us smile. As much as I love cinema today (and I do, very much), modern movies just don't have the same effect on me as a good classic. I grew up watching TCM, AMC and the old TV shows on Nick at Nite. These movies remind me of evenings spent in the small room at my parents house where the second TV was, watching to see what would come on next. Color or black and white, a western or Hitchcock. I used to love those nights. Now I have my favorites on DVD to watch whenever I want.

Give me a good Audrey Hepburn flick any night. Charade is a great one - the story of a woman in Paris whose husband is murdered and a large sum of money goes missing. A number of oddball characters are out to get here thinking she has the money. Cary Grant helps her through all of this, changing his name every 15 minutes and making her fall in love with him in between. All in all - a very charming movie! Interesting fact - Grant was 59 when he did this movie, Hepburn only 33. He did not want to take the role at first thinking his character was preying too much on the younger female role. In order to get him on board, the script was switched so that all the aggressive lines went to Hepburn.

A few of my favorite quotes:
Reggie Lampert: I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
Peter Joshua: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.

Adam Canfield: Wow, when you come on, you come on, don't you?
Reggie Lampert: Oh, come on!

Adam Canfield: We didn't steal it, there's no law against stealing stolen money.
Reggie Lampert: Of course there is!
Adam Canfield: There is?
Reggie Lampert: Yes!
Adam Canfield: When did they pass such a silly law?

Reggie Lampert: Is there a Mrs. Crookshank...?
Adam Canfield: Yes.
Reggie Lampert: But you're divorced!
Adam Canfield: No...
Adam Canfield: My mother, she lives in Detriot, you'd like her, she'd like you too.
Reggie Lampert: Oh, I love you, Adam, Alex, Peter, Brian, whatever your name is, I love you! I hope we have a lot of boys and we can name them all after you!

Here we go again.

Well, considering this is my first post in about 10 months, I would say my first attempt at blogging was not all that successful. That may be because the topic was lacking success itself - online dating. After nearly a year on eHarmony, I am going to be glad when my membership expires and I can call it a day with online dating.

So, with that in mind, I am going to try again with a new format. My life. Not just online dating, because really, there is just not enough content there. No, beyond that. Especially beyond that. Life beyond a significant other is especially important for me since I am lacking one. I firmly believe my life is complete just the way it is, so why not write about all the great things I DO have rather than that one illusive thing I am (by most standards) missing.

So here we go again ..
Starting today rather than on January 1 because that feels like too much pressure.
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